Cambridge ‘has fastest growing economy in the UK’

3/01/2018

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Cambridge had the fastest-growing city economy in the UK across the third quarter of 2017, according to a new report which also revealed that both of the country's most famous university cities are expected to thrive in the next 12 months.

These findings are a huge boost for Cambridge and highlight how the city is benefitting from industrial parks which are leading the way in fields such as wireless technology, display technology, and mobile telecommunications.

The UK Powerhouse study is produced by Irwin Mitchell and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and provides an estimate of GVA* growth and job creation within 45 of the UK’s largest cities 12 months ahead of the Government’s official figures.

Published this month, the research revealed that Cambridge’s GVA growth rate of 2.2% made it the top-performing city economy in the UK, with forecasts suggesting that the city’s predicted year-on-year growth rate of 2.19% in 2018 will also be the best of any major location.

Neighbouring Oxford is also set to have a strong 2018, with the city expected to be second on the table of top-performing economies with a growth rate of 1.99%. It also took sixth place in terms of Q3 2017 GVA performance with a growth rate of 1.9%.

Victoria Brackett, chief executive of Business Legal Services at Irwin Mitchell, said: “These findings are a huge boost for Cambridge and highlight how the city is benefitting from industrial parks which are leading the way in fields such as wireless technology, display technology, and mobile telecommunications.

“The city is also of course close to London which is hugely beneficial with the capital remaining a key economic hub.”

This latest edition of UK Powerhouse examines the impact that the education has on city economies across the UK, with Oxford being behind only London in terms of the GVA generated by its education sector. The city’s education sector grew by 4% between 2012 and 2015 to reach a value of £500 million.

In comparison, Cambridge’s education sector GVA stood at £319 million after achieving zero growth during the three-year period analysed.

The report notes the education sector makes a major contribution to economic growth within many areas surrounding universities and also offers recommendations on how it can continue to do so. These include:

  • Engaging in the work of Local Enterprise partnerships, particularly in support for innovation
  • Ensuring cities with a strong outflow of graduate age young workers have policies for retaining talent, with the Government also providing incentives for graduate recruiters to hire more in those areas
  •  Encouraging cities to improving infrastructure to optimise the movement of workers
  • Introducing large-scale affordable housing projects to appeal to graduates

Image: Top and bottom five cities by annual GVA growth, Q3 2017

Source: Office for National Statistics, Cebr analysis

*GVA = Gross Value Added

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